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One of the fastest-growing cities in Europe, Inverness is at its liveliest in summer, when it bustles with visitors from all over the world. They are attracted by the stunning landscape of the northwest Highlands, the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, or the doomed romance of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Cause. Although it was founded in medieval times, most of the city’s most important buildings date from the 18th and 19th centuries. Landmark buildings include the bulky Inverness Castle, which was erected in 1835 on the site of a much smaller medieval stronghold, and the Old High Church, overlooking the River Ness on St Michael’s Mount. Inverness is attractively landscaped with numerous carefully laid-out parks and gardens, including the tropical glasshouses of the Bught Floral Hall, where palms and other warm-climate plants make a striking contrast to the often snow-capped mountains on the northern horizon.
Inverness is surrounded by wide open spaces that are ideal for outdoor activities. Here you can try everything from climbing, hiking and canoeing to sailing and even scuba diving on the Moray Firth, the long inlet of the North Sea on which the city stands.
Scotland has a wide array of traditional dishes and there are a few specialties that you should take the opportunity to try out. Haggis is boiled and minced offal from sheep, mixed with beef suet and oatmeal. The Aberdeen-Angus beef cattle make for rich and tasty meat, which makes excellent steaks. Last but not least you should try the Black Bun, a dark fruit cake made with raisins, currants, chopped peel and almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger.
Inverness does not have a pub portfolio to compare with Scotland’s larger cities, but you can still find a handful of good drinking places here, modern as well as traditional. Despite its small size, Inverness punches above its weight when it comes to nightlife. There are plenty of pubs, clubs and music venues offering everything from traditional ceilidhs with fiddle music and country dancing to the latest DJ’s and blockbuster movies. The city’s main venue for highbrow theatre, music and art-house films is the Eden Court Theatre.
Inverness is the shopping hub of the Highland region, with plenty of modern shops to meet everyday needs. It has more than its fair share of souvenir, gift and handicraft shops and an adequate choice of more imaginative, high-quality retail outlets. For essentials, the recently extended Eastgate Shopping Centre houses most of the best-known store brands and the attractively refurbished Victorian Arcade, which has an assortment of smaller shops including a number of antique and arts and crafts outlets.
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